The Honolulu medical examiner confirms skeletal remains found on Tantalus in April 2016 belong to a missing Kalihi woman.
Helen Prestosa, 39, had been missing since November 19, 2015.
Jhun Ley Irorita, 25, was arrested in January 2016 on suspicion of Prestosa’s murder, but was released pending investigation due to lack of evidence.
With her death now ruled as a homicide, Irorita was indicted by a grand jury on March 14, 2017 for second-degree murder in Prestosa’s death. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. View the full update here.
On Friday, we spoke with Prestosa’s parents and her best friend. They expressed some relief with these latest developments, but there’s one major step they would still like to take before getting some closure.
Ted and Segundina Prestosa say they had been patiently waiting for Irorita to finally get indicted for their daughter’s murder. Helen’s mother still keeps a memorial in the bedroom where she used to sleep.
“I cannot sleep,” Segundina Prestosa said. “Already, I’m thinking my daughter. Every time I change the flower or the water in the vase in the room of my daughter there, I’m crying.”
The family was told in April of last year that remains were found on Tantalus. Some of Prestosa’s personal belongings were also found, including her cell phone and a blanket.
They say the medical examiner confirmed to them in November that the body was Helen’s, nearly a year after her disappearance.
The family held a funeral shortly thereafter. “We buried her,” said Ted Prestosa. “That is all we wanted to happen. She’s already resting. That’s a very important part.”
But, as Prestosa’s best friend and roommate, Marie Miller, explains, there is one more thing they would like to happen: “I will not be completely happy until an absolute justice is served for Helen, myself, the whole family.”
In the Kalihi home the two women shared before Prestosa’s disappearance, Miller told us Irorita lived in the unit above them, but she says they never really knew him.
“So people out there who’s watching me right now, make sure to lock all your windows and your doors,” she said, “because with my experience, I can say that even inside your house, it’s not safe.”